New applications for plastic

By replacing metal with plastic, the cars of the future can be made far lighter and thereby more energy efficient. How about fully plastic wheel rims, for instance? The audience at PlasTactic on Wednesday heard how this was perfectly feasible.

“Really interesting,” says Robin Jarl of Kungsörs Plast, one of the audience members.

New materials, production methods and automation are the common themes in the inspiration and knowledge arena known as PlasTactic. One of the focus areas on Wednesday was the quest for lighter and thereby more energy-efficient cars. BASF and Smart have jointly developed an electrically powered concept car, where the focus has been to replace metal with plastic.

“Replacing metal has no intrinsic value in itself, but in a few years fees will be introduced on cars that emit too much carbon dioxide. If you want to retain the cars’ comfort and performance the weight has to come down, and that’s where plastic is of interest,” says speaker Jan Hansson of BASF Engineering Plastics, which is involved in work on the concept car, Smartforvision. One observation is that the car’s wheel rims are made of fibreglass-reinforced polyamide, bringing the overall weight of the wheel down by 3 kilograms.

However, replacing metal is not only good for the automotive industry, but also for other sectors. Robin Jarl, a technical designer at Kungsörs Plast, was one of the people listening to the PlasTactic talk. He believes plastics have an exciting future ahead of them.

“Absolutely. All new knowledge about replacing metal makes it worth coming to this fair. At our company we’re developing a fuel pipe system for service stations, and the whole aim of the project is to incorporate as much plastic as possible.”

 

There are open PlasTactic talks on every day of the fair. Speakers on the Thursday include BMW’s Head of Design for Advanced Materials.

Published
5/9/2012
Images
Robin Jarl, Kungsörs Plast